Noela Rukundo is one of very few people who get to witness their own funeral. She sat in a car outside her home in Melbourne, Australia watching mourners exit the ceremony in her honor.
How on earth is this possible? Because she was never dead.
Rukundo’s husband, Balenga Kalala, had hired hit men to murder her, but his plan was thwarted.
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After being kidnapped and taken to a remote location, Rukundo was informed by the culprits that it was her husband who put them up to it.
Of course, she thought they were lying until they called him on the phone and she heard him tell them to “kill her.”
“I knew he was a violent man,” Rukundo reportedly told the BBC. “But I didn’t believe he can kill me.”
The men were never going to kill Rukundo — they didn’t believe in killing women and they knew her brother — however, they planned to keep her husband’s money and tell him she was dead before setting her free.
When they let her go, they gave her a cell phone, recordings of their phone conversations with her husband, and receipts for $7,000 they received as payment, The Washington Post reports.
“We just want you to go back, to tell other stupid women like you what happened,” Rukundo said she was told before the gang members drove away.
How noble of them … (side eye)
Meanwhile, her husband told everyone they knew in Melbourne she died in a tragic accident and arranged a funeral for her. However, on the day of the funeral, Rukundo showed up and confronted her husband.
“I felt like somebody who had risen again,” she said.
Rukundo said that Kalala tried to kill her because he thought she was going to leave him for another man — an accusation she denies.
Kalala — after initially denying the plot — eventually plead guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison for incitement to murder.
“Had Ms. Rukundo’s kidnappers completed the job, eight children would have lost their mother,” Chief Justice Marilyn Warren said, according to the ABC. “It was premeditated and motivated by unfounded jealousy, anger and a desire to punish Ms. Rukundo.”
Rukundo is now trying to carry on with her life; however, she has received backlash from some members of Melbourne’s Congolese community who condemn her for reporting her husband to the police.
Those negative reactions are both bizarre and unexpected, considering the man tried to have her killed, but Rukundo maintains she will not be intimidated. “I will stand up like a strong woman,” she said. “My situation, my past life? That is gone. I’m starting a new life now.”
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Banner and thumbnail credit: Flickr, Ann Larie Valentine